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Red lentil dahl

10 January 2019

Leah Vanderveldt's easy red lentil dahl is a great way to use up store cupboard essentials. Extracted from her new book First-time Vegan.

Red lentil dahl
Red lentil dahl from First-time Vegan by Leah Vanderveldt, Ryland Peters & Small

Cooking time

45 minutes




  • Olive oil or coconut oil, for frying
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2.5-cm/1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 x 400-g/14-oz. can chopped tomatoes
  • 270 g/1 ½ cups dried red lentils
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 120g/2 cups kale, shredded
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To serve

  • Steamed rice
  • Pinch of chilli flakes/hot red pepper flakes
  • Freshly chopped coriander
  • Coconut cream


Heat enough oil to thinly coat the base of a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the onions, season to taste with salt and cook for about 10–12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they begin to caramelise. Add a splash of water if the pan gets too dry.

Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. Stir in the spices and cook for 1 more minute. Add the tomatoes and cook until bubbling again, then add 950 ml/4 cups of water and the lentils. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil.

Add the carrots, cover, and simmer for about 20–30 minutes until the lentils are starting to break down and the carrots are tender. Stir in some black pepper and the kale.

Turn off the heat, leave the pan covered and allow to stand for 15 minutes before serving with rice, chilli flakes/hot red pepper flakes, coriander/cilantro and a drizzle of coconut cream.

First-time Vegan

Recipe extracted from First-time Vegan by Leah Vanderveldt, Ryland Peters & Small, RRP £9.99

Visit our vegan recipes section for more meat-free meal ideas


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.